Clickbait, Social Media, and the News

Because of all the technology around us, a lot of people no longer get their news from the television or newspaper. Instead of relying on scheduled news outlets, people can easily take out their phones and see the news.

A Mobile Age

There are plenty of ways to view events and stories happening around the globe. While news sites are commonplace, plenty of people also keep updated through their social media feeds. Social media has evolved through the years. From its simple beginnings as message-sending websites, today’s social media commands a ton of authority when it comes to spreading information. Social media becomes a one-stop shop for socializing, entertainment, and keeping one’s self informed.

The speed at which news circulate around the internet is lightning fast. The moment something happens, you can read about it online seconds later. While this can be a great way to receive news, it also has a few downsides.

Watch out for Clickbait

One of the main goals for the countless news sites out there is to entice page views. The main idea is simple – the site writes about the news, people come visit, and the site receives revenue from advertisements. How does one entice readers to click on links and go to their websites? The easiest way to do this is to create sensationalist headlines that make readers curious. The more curiosity generated, the more clicks going into their system.

Clickbaits are headlines that grab the readers’ attention. They are very common online and are used by countless sites to generate traffic. Most of these clickbait articles try to evoke an emotional reaction from the reader. Whether it is outrage, curiosity, agreement, clickbait articles try to bypass the rational reaction with something emotional. With emotions running high, a person is more likely to want to read more about it.

In the end however, clickbait articles are just that – bait. Their main goal is for you to generate revenue for their sites. These stories can bend the truth, write opinion pieces as facts, or outright lie to get your approval. Checking facts and doing your research can help prevent these issues from happening.

Watch out for Misinformation

Headlines can also be used as a way to send a message. With the influx of countless items on your digital feed, it can be very hard to focus on one thing. Because of this, plenty of people read headlines and nothing more. This gives them a very short window into the news, and the wording of the headline itself can determine the reaction of the reader. Without digging deeper and only relying on headlines designed to attract attention, misinformation can spread rapidly.

Think about it for a second. How many times have you seen headlines online and reacted upon it without reading the full story behind it? Next time you see an emotionally provoking headline, remember to read everything you can first before giving out reactions. After reading the whole story, then you can create a logical, evidence-based opinion on the topic. Remember – you are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.

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